Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Book #27: Fevre Dream by George R. R. Martin.

It's strange that, despite my love for his Song of Ice and Fire books, I've never read anything else by GRRM. I say it's strange because usually when I find an author I enjoy as much as I love those books, I run out and devour that author's entire catalogue. But that's not been the case here. I had a graphic novel of Fevre Dream, so I knew the story, but that was adapted by Daniel Abraham, so even then, I was reading GRRM's words filtered through someone else.

I saw a copy of Fevre Dream for sale cheap and decided the time has come to read it.

Well, it's kinda Anne Rice meets Mark Twain, but definitely recognizable as GRRM's work. If only for all the descriptions of all the meals and food :)

I jest because it's also recognizable as his because we've got some strong characterization (I really liked gruff, loyal, smarter than he seems, riverboat Captain Abner Marsh), an interesting  twist on vampire mythology and because it's a dark, dark piece of work with lots of violence. It's not a very long read, so the pace is pretty good, and he manages not to get too carried away with the riverboating descriptions. Just enough to give you the flavour of antebellum Mississippi, not enough to bog you down there. 

Definitely an enjoyable vampire yarn.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Dagger and the Coin Pt. 2

Book # 26: The King's Blood by Daniel Abraham.

This is the second book in Abraham's "The Dagger and the Coin" series (the first being The Dragon's Path) and I must say I enjoyed this one more than it's predecessor. This may be because the world feels more lived in, the characters are fleshed out beyond their introductions, and the court intrigue is starting to pay off and Abraham's got a better handle on it than he did in the first book. 

We're still following a handful of POV characters; Cithrin, Marcus, Geder, Dawson and Clara. Things change significantly for the POV characters in this book, and in fact, we lose one of them along the way. While I sometimes found it difficult to get into the first book, there was none of that problem here as the Abraham keeps the plot and the action moving at  a pretty fierce clip that feels both natural and really scary. Things are going downhill quickly in some ways, and the quest to stop this is only just getting under way, and I actually found myself urging those characters on. Which i took to be a pretty good sign of enjoyment.

While I'd only been luke-warm in looking forward to this book, after having read it, I'm really looking forward to the next installment. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Arthur meets Shakespeare

Book #25: The Tragedy of Arthur by Arthur Phillips.

When I first heard of this book, my immediate reaction was (excuse the swearing) FUCK YEAH! It combines two of my very favourite things; Shakespeare and Arthurian Legends. More specifically, a supposed lost play about King Arthur, written by Shakespeare. Fuck yeah again!

The bulk of this book is Arthur Phillips' 'Introduction' to the previously unknown play The Tragedy of Arthur, discovered and given to him by his dying father. Now, this would be remarkable on it's own... a completely unknown play? This isn't even like Cardinio or Love's Labours Found, plays we know existed, but don't have the texts for, no, there is no record whatsoever of this play. Which makes Phillips wary. Why? Because his father is a con man, more specifically, a forger.

So Phillips lays out his extremely complicated relationship with his father, and with his twin sister Dana, and even with Shakespeare. Phillips has no love for the Bard, and he makes this abundantly clear. So of course, he is the one his father enlists (and not Shakespeare loving Dana) to shepherd this play into publication. Which is very interesting, because it means Phillips is fairly skeptical from the beginning of the play's authenticity. 

So after the introduction, we get to the play itself. That's right, the actual play is included in it's entirety. It's no Hamlet, but it's enough like Shakespeare's early plays to pass for one. The language is quite perfect, but it really doesn't have that extra bit of magic, of playfullness, that Shakespeare is so capable of. But still, the play is done well enough and there were some lovely scenes in it. 

I'll probably end up reading the play a few times, just for fun :) 

(and yes, I am aware that there was an actual incident of  forged Shakespearean plays, 'found' in the 1790s, called Vortigern and Rowena (the other was Henry II). Vortigern,  was the British warlord/king that  Arthur Pendragon's family defeated for the throne of Britain)

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Dark Tower V

Book number 24 - The Wolves of the Calla by Stephen King

Good lordy this one took me forever to finish. It wasn't that I was disliking it or anything... I just kept finding other things to do besides reading it.

In fact, I kinda liked the whole Seven Samurai, Magnificent Seven vibe throughout most of it. And bringing back a character from a much earlier novel of King's? Very interesting. 

Yes I wasn't minding this book until the end....

The Wolves are Doombots armed with light sabres and explosive golden snitches????


Just... no.